The story behind the incredible dingo photo shoot
Hi everyone. I am Chris, pet photographer of Christopher Fotobooks.
This is a set of photos from an ongoing personal project that I have been doing.
It is to celebrate the noble grassroot efforts in conserving Australian wildlife, to praise the unsung heroes, so to speak.
I was drawn to an idea of picking one Australian native wild animal that is the most mistreated or misunderstood and show the most beautiful side of them.
Naturally, dingoes fall into this category.
I started my professional pet portrait business back in November 2019. I didn’t know much about dingoes and the issues they face, apart from being aware they are the iconic wild dogs roaming different parts of Australia.
The challenges include some disastrous government policies that lead to many inhumane dingo management practices.
I started asking myself – what is the role of my business?
That question later evolved into a charity photo shoot to raise awareness.
I needed collaboration with someone who kept dingoes in my state, so I set up a model call in a dingo conservation Facebook group. It took some time to organise the shoot. To cut a long story short, I found Gill, who invited me to do a photo shoot with the dingoes at her Bushland Dingo Haven Sanctuary.
Gill and Richard Ryhorchuk set up their own home as a private enclosure for dingoes in 1975 (located in Violet Town, Victoria, Australia).
Over the years, the couple’s study on dingo behavior and social structure was ahead of its time. They shared their knowledge through several books and documentary films that showcased dingoes’ intelligent and complex behaviour, that mainstream study had not yet discovered.
When I arrived, I was first greeted by Richard’s grave, which is right next to the front gate of the property – as well as the howling from the back of the fence. The dingo, as I observed in that moment, is a very sensitive animal that can easily pick up any slight changes of their surroundings. Perhaps they have picked up the sound of my car’s engine miles away.
Later in that afternoon, I was greeted by Jilly (the dingo in the photos) with much sniffing and poking around. I learned from Gill that Jilly is the only one dingo that opens up to everyone.
It was through these exchanges with Gill and Jilly, that I understood why some folks would fall in love with dingoes straight away.
And I understand why some folks like Gill and Richard would give everything they have to help save these majestic Australian wild animals.
If you wish to make a donation to Gill Ryhorchuk’s dingo haven, here is her Facebook account.
Guest article by Christopher Wong.